Social Security 102 – START-STOP-START

In 2015 there were 2 major changes relating to spousal claiming, the elimination of the File & Suspend Option on April 29, 2016 and the elimination of the Restricted Claiming Provision for those born after January 1, 1954.  The Restricted Claiming Provision allowed one spouse the ability to claim spousal benefits at age 66 while postponing their own benefits until age 70.  This affected not only married couples, but it also affects those people who are divorced, who were married for at least 10 years Continue reading →

Retirement, Social Security and Poverty in the US

Much like gym memberships in January when everyone is setting new goals for the upcoming year, I see a spike in Social Security consultations around the holidays.  I think the number one reason is that we take time to reflect upon our own financial situation, where we are at and where we are going, but we also gather with family and friends and many discussions lead to retirement plans and finances including when to claim Social Security. This is an overview of a recent study Continue reading →


Newsletter October 2018 While playing golf this weekend in the Senior Club Championship (don’t ask how I did) I had 2 separate conversations with men getting ready to retire within the next 6 months.  Both individuals knew that they could postpone claiming Social Security until age 70, but neither realized that the difference between claiming at 62 vs 70 was a double in the amount of the monthly check!  Neither did they realize that their spouses would inherit their claiming decision (should they predecease their Continue reading →

Mistakes Made – Opportunities Lost

I’m not sure what’s in the water or in the air, but I have sure come across a lot of Social Security missteps in the last 60 days, which is the reason for this month’s article.  Below are actual cases where individuals have either made poor decisions or missed opportunities to claim benefits; Rita – (Widow Age 66) Rita claimed her survivorship benefits at age 62 – 4 years ago.  She went to SSA and was told her survivorship benefits were greater than her own Continue reading →

Creating Sustainable Retirement Income – Part 2

Last month we discussed the 4% Rule and Sequence of Returns Risk which can absolutely devastate one’s portfolio, if your unfortunate enough to retire at the wrong time!  Since we are in the 9th Year of a sustained bull market and interest rates are at extremely low historical levels and trending upwards there is potential for a correction or dare I say Bear Market.  Since we don’t have the luxury of knowing what exactly the future holds we can only proceed with extreme caution and Continue reading →

Warning – Danger Ahead

“Be Fearful When Others Are Greedy and Greedy When Others Are Fearful.”   – Warren Buffett In 1977 I was a brand new rookie stockbroker at Bache & Company in Milwaukee, my manager who had been in the business for over 40 years told me that ours is a very simple business if you remember, but more importantly act on one simple belief, “when everyone loves it sell it, when everyone hates it buy it!”  No truer words were ever spoken by both Warren Buffett and Continue reading →

8th Wonder of the World!

The great Albert Einstein once said “Compound interest is the eighth wonder of the world. He who understands it, earns it … he who doesn’t … pays it.” Over the last couple of weeks I’ve presented to the Dallas & Houston CPA Societies, the title of my presentation – Retirement 2018 & Beyond – The Retirement Income Puzzle.  I discussed the main risks associated with the Retirement years and probably the #1 Risk is Longevity Risk (You don’t want to run out of money before you run Continue reading →


April 2018 Housing wealth makes up almost 2/3 of Retired American’s New Worth and needs to be taken in consideration when people contemplate retiring and taking Social Security.  As Baby Boomers retire many will decide to move to a different home for a variety of reasons.  Some will want to downsize or upgrade to a newer home, some will want to move closer to family, others will wish to move to retirement communities, surprisingly retiring to an urban location or to be near a university Continue reading →

CASE STUDY Balancing Act

CASE STUDY Balancing Act Linda is 62 a widow and is still working, not by choice, but because she has no options and needs to continue working until 65 when she qualifies for Medicare.  Linda works 6 days per week and earns $22,000 per year as a clerk in a department store.  She can’t get by in what she earns, thus her daughter helps her out financially each month.  Linda also has several nonthreatening health issues which makes her working and planning that much more Continue reading →

No Cookie Cutter Advice

With the November 2015 changes to spousal claiming options some CPA’s, Financial Advisors and consumers question the need to spend $250 to have me run a personalized Social Security Analysis where I’ll explore ALL their claiming options.  My answer is twofold, you and your employer have paid several hundred thousand dollars in FICA taxes over the last 30 – 40 years and the difference between proper and improper claiming over the next 30 – 40 years can easily exceed $500,000 of lifetime benefits!  Does it Continue reading →